mitigation in parks, nature centers and conservation organizations

This page is a work in progress— please pardon the rough draft for those of you getting a sneak peak.  We wanted to provide the links to people who attended the climate clinic.  Look for a more polished page by the end of February 2014.

making a difference

Our parks, nature centers and conservation organizations are committed to protecting biodiversity and do great work in the field with tangible results in conservation and environmental education.  We can expand our role by doing our best to operate our facilities with a small environmental footprint.  There are a lot of great examples of organizations ‘walking the talk’.  Here are some ideas to help us all do more.


Design makes a big difference in how much paper is used.  And there dozens of other details– beyond choosing recycled paper– that make a difference.

This graphic design guide from the Monadnock paper company explains a lot and offers great ideas.  Plus, it’s full of charming illustrations by Charlie Harper in a beautifully designed document.  You can download a pdf with this link:  or order a copy here.

When you’re printing from your computer, you can cut paper use by about 20% just by widening the margins or formatting documents with 2 or more columns.  Try it out.  If you like the results, set your default options on your computer to conserve paper by using 2 columns and half-inch margins.  For letters and other special documents, you can always adjust the settings.


Snacks, beverages and meals make events more inviting– and give a nice reward for volunteers who have helped us out.  The food choices say a lot and can make a big difference in the footprint of our operations.  Here are a few things to consider:

Local, seasonal choices

Vegetarian, vegan choices– find inspiration on these sites:

Meatless Monday

familiar vegan/vegetarian foods

Ingredients to avoid:  palm oil

Minimal packaging & low impact recyclable or compostable packages

Food scrap composting

Caterers and restaurants with a commitment to sustainability

Some have a personal commitment while others formalize their commitment through certification.  Talk to your caterer or restaurant manager about what they do or look for a food server certified through the Green Restaurant Association.


Does your organization provide recycling bins that meet the needs of your visitors?  Do an informal or formal waste audit– by poking through a trash can or by setting up a small study– to find out what people are throwing away.

When you set up a recycling system, keep these things in mind:

Make bins convenient– near trash cans or other less-formal disposal sites

Label the bins clearly– including pictures of acceptable items can help people understand & comply with the waste haulers requirements

Connect the benefits of recycling to conserving energy, improving air quality, protecting nature and general efficiency


Most of us know about recycling electronics.  Take a cradle-to-grave approach to your electronics purchases.

epeat    Epeat is a rating program for electronic devices including computers, monitors laptops, copiers, printers, scanners, printers, fax machines, televisions and more.  Buy the greenest products you can.  And remember– they aren’t necessarily the most expensive.


green buildings


building retrofits

Incentives for Illinois

Advice and analysis in Illinois

teaching mitigation


gardening in a changing climate

fleet vehicles & transportation

Illinois Green Fleets program

Clean School Bus / Idle Reduction Campaign at US EPA

Clean Air Campaign

transit to trail




community climate action & sustainability plans


climate friendly parks

Recommended resources from the National Park Service